The 2020 Major League Baseball season will surely go down as one of the most memorable and unusual, and this week the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins add another reason why. The two NL East foes will square off in a rare seven-game series beginning Thursday night and running through Monday, including not one but two seven-inning doubleheaders.
The two teams opened the season with a three-game set and then had each of their next eight games postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak throughout the Marlins clubhouse.
90 Years in the Making
The 7-game series is definitely unusual, but not unprecedented. The Phillies have played a 7-game series before, but the last time they did so was in 1930 (twice!), and two of the games ended in ties.
Things are a lot different 90 years later. For one, the 1930 Phillies team was one of MLB’s all-time worst clubs. The 2020 version is fighting for playoff positioning, entering the Marlins series sitting just two games back of the first-place Braves in the division.
The Phils will turn to Jekyll-and-Hyde Jake Arrieta for the series opener Thursday. Arrieta is coming off his best start of the season, a 5-3 win over the Mets in which he went seven innings, striking out seven and scattering seven hits. His quality effort came off the heels of his worst performance of the season, where he couldn’t get out of the second inning in a 12-10 loss to the Braves.
Welcome to Miami
The Marlins haven’t proven to be the cupcakes most pundits expected this year, as they, too, are in the thick of the postseason hunt. Miami is only a game and a half behind the Phillies, and just 3.5 out of first place. To make the playoff push, they must play much better at home.
At 2-9, the Marlins are baseball’s worst team inside their home park, but they’ll have a chance to rectify that beginning Thursday. Due to those aforementioned COVID-19 delays, Miami will play their next 15 games at Marlins Park, including five games against the Nationals.
They’ll hand the ball to Sandy Alcantara, who enters the game with a 3.78 ERA and began the season with a win over these Phillies on July 24.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins Betting Pick
It will be interesting to find out whether the Marlins are still feeling the reverberations after being shell-shocked 29-9 by the Braves on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the Phillies had the night off after playing 12 straight days.
The Phillies’ lack of success against the Marlins has been well-documented dating back to last year, and if they struggle again in 2020, it will likely be the difference between playing in the postseason for the first time since 2011 or watching from home again for the 9th straight year.
Rhys Hoskins, JT Realmuto, and Alec Bohm have provided consistent pop over the last two weeks, while Bryce Harper has continued to slump. On the Brightside, Harper has success against Alcantara, with six hits in 15 career at-bats against the righty.
This series will be a grind, but we’ll give the edge in the opener to the Phillies, who have won their last three after having the previous day off.
Take the Phillies ML -108.